Skip to comments.The pornographic pandemic - we are awash in porn
Posted on 11/19/2011 5:02:31 AM PST by IbJensen
Note: This article originally appeared in Columbia magazine, the magazine of the Knights of Columbus, and is reprinted here with permission
November 18, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In a conversation with a priest in my diocese, I shared my spiritual directors report that every other confession he hears from men involves the sin of pornography. The pastors response was shocking: Oh, its much worse than that! Since then, this sad reality has been confirmed by many others: The sin of pornography is overwhelming Catholic men.
Pornography is now more popular than baseball. In fact, it has become Americas pastime, and we are awash in it. Porn is on our computers, our smartphones, and our cable or satellite TV. Its common in our hotels and even in many retail stores and gas stations. For many men and, increasingly, women it is part of their daily lives.
Yet, Catholic teaching on the subject is clear. Use of pornography is a grave offense. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, Pornography offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others (2354).
In Life of Christ, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen wrote, The penalty of those who live too close to the flesh is to never understand the spiritual. Hardcore pornography on the Internet offers an ocean of perversion. It takes the mind where it should never go, loosening its moral moorings and leaving it adrift in a treacherous sea of sin. That is the fate of those who give themselves over to pornography: They find themselves alone with their images and an insatiable appetite for more.
While astounding to many, users of pornography eventually put religion, marriage, family, work and friendships secondary to their desire for pornography. They may want to change, to go back to life as it was before porn, but most will return and descend further. Dr. Mary Anne Layden, director of the University of Pennsylvanias Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program at the Center for Cognitive Therapy, likens pornography to crack cocaine. In a testimony to the U.S. Senate in November 2004, she noted, This material is potent, addictive and permanently implanted in the brain.
Sadly, for the regular consumer of pornography, confession and contrition are normally not sufficient to break from pornography because, like drug abuse, pornography is not just a bad habit it is often an addiction.
A DESIRE THAT DOES NOT SATISFY
Addiction to pornography is now commonplace among adults and is even a growing problem for children and teenagers. Few who are addicted will get help, and the consequences can be lifelong and severe.
Pornographys addictive strength is a result of long-term, sometimes lifelong, neuroplastic changes in the brain. Psychiatrist Norman Doidge, author of the best-selling book The Brain That Changes Itself (Penguin, 2007), writes, Pornography, by offering an endless harem of sexual objects, hyperactivates the appetitive system. Porn viewers develop new maps in their brains, based on the photos and videos they see. Because it is a use-it-or-lose-it brain, when we develop a map area, we long to keep it activated. Just as our muscles become impatient for exercise if weve been sitting all day, so too do our senses hunger to be stimulated (108).
With pornography, in other words, our brains pleasure system that excites our desires is activated, but there is no real satisfaction. This explains why users can spend endless hours searching for pornography on the Internet.
Doidge further notes that porn viewers develop tolerances so that they need higher and higher levels of stimulation. Thus, they often move to harder, more deviant pornography. More than a decade ago, Margaret A. Healy, adjunct professor at Fordham University School of Law, and Muireann OBrian, former head of End Child Pornography, Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT), observed a link between adult and child pornography. Since that time, scores of current and former law enforcement authorities have noted that many adult porn consumers will eventually move to child pornography, even if they are not pedophiles and had no interest is such material at first. These findings account, in part, for the prevalence of child pornography in the world today.
Viewing porn changes the users attitude toward sex, his or her spouse and society. He or she uses sexual fantasies to get aroused, tries to get partners to act out pornographic scenes, is more likely to engage in sexual harassment and sexual aggression, and views sex as a casual, non-intimate, recreational privilege. Laydon and other clinical psychologists have reported that, ironically, erectile dysfunction is commonly associated with constant porn use among men. One reason for this is that the constant search for sexual images and often-accompanying masturbation lead to dissatisfaction with ones spouse. After all, a mans wife cannot possibly maintain an image that competes with the women in the fantasy world of pornographic videos and images. The regular porn consumer sets himself up for disappointment and the almost-certain disintegration of his marriage.
Marital love is meant to be a total giving of oneself to a lifelong, faithful partner. It is a trusting, selfless giving. By contrast, pornographic sex is selfish, demeaning and mechanical. In his catechesis on the theology of the body, Pope John Paul II emphasized that there is a moral goodness in marriage, which is faithfulness. That goodness can be adequately achieved only in the exclusive relationship of both parties. Too many people miss out on that unique goodness of marriage and settle for the temporary, perverted and unfulfilling excitement of pornography.
PROTECTING OUR CHILDREN
A father has a duty to keep his children from pornography and a sacred obligation to set an example of purity for his family. What greater authority could a father have about the harms of pornography than the words of Christ?: But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Mt 5:28).
If you have become a porn consumer, ask yourself this: Am I the same man who professed fidelity to my wife on my wedding day? Fidelity cannot be maintained if one consumes pornography. Wives of porn consumers feel as though their husbands are committing adultery. Affairs of the mind are every bit as destructive as affairs of the heart.
Divorce lawyers report a high correspondence between pornography consumption and divorces. One 2004 study in Social Science Quarterly titled Adult Social Bonds and Use of Internet Pornography revealed that persons having an extramarital affair were more than three times more likely to have accessed Internet porn than those who did not have affairs. Further, those ever having engaged in paid sex were 3.7 times more apt to be using Internet porn than those who had not.
If you have a porn habit, your children may follow. Many pornography addicts report that their first exposure to porn was the discovery of their parents porn collection, which started them on a life of sexual confusion and exploitation. A 2006 survey of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children revealed that 79 percent of youth gain unwanted exposure to pornography in the home.
To a child, pornography normalizes sexual harm, according to Dr. Sharon Cooper, a pediatrician at the University of North Carolina. Research has shown that the prefrontal cortex the home of good judgment, common sense, impulse control and emotions is not completely mature until children are 20-22 years of age, she explained. The introduction of pornography to the brains prefrontal cortex is therefore devastating to key areas of a childs development and may be life-altering. When a child sees adult pornography their brains will convince them that they are actually experiencing what they are seeing, Cooper added. In other words, what a child sees in porn is what they believe is reality.
Some children will actually emulate what they see in pornography and experiment on siblings, relatives and friends. Many studies show that children exposed to pornography initiate sexual activity at an earlier age, have more sex partners, and have multiple partners in a short period of time. A 2001 study in the journal Pediatrics also found that teenage girls exposed to pornographic movies have sex more frequently and have a strong desire to become pregnant.
THERE IS HELP AND HOPE
Thankfully, there are organizations, counselors and resources that provide hope for those suffering from the destructive effects of pornography on children, marriages, relationships and society. Many who have been addicted adults and children alike have been helped through counseling or online exercises offered by recovery services.
It is critical, however, that each person and each family does a reality check. Ask yourselves whether you and your family are protected from the scourge of pornography. Do you have adequate parental control or filtering software on your home computer? Is the computer in an open area of the home? If you have children, have you talked to them about the spiritual and social cost of pornography? Do you have premium cable or satellite channels on your TV that offer pornography as regular fare?
If you are viewing pornography or indecent material, you are harming your very soul and perhaps those of your children and your spouse. The biblical warning is severe: If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out (Mk 9:47). At a minimum, make sure that your computer both at home and in the office is filtered and that you have an accountability partner perhaps your wife or a good friend who has access to your computer and the sites you visit. Finally, get involved in the war on pornography. It is worth the fight for you, your family and your nation.
I wonder if he’s even talking about stuff that is “legally” called porn. Gratuitous cheesecake is so easy to get an eyeful of today. Just go to the mall.
Janet Reno did a study in 1997 that reflected 85% of Rapist were addicted to Pornography!
Why it’s important to monitor your kids internet and now smart phones
“Janet Reno did a study in 1997 that reflected 85% of Rapist were addicted to Pornography!”
And??? What does that prove?
It would seem the evolution of the church is away from the dogma that has dominated for centuries
This being Reno with her own feminist insecurities, I’d take that with a carton of salt.
I guess even I have to ask here, what’s so funny?
I believe he’s talking about the raw, unadulterated porn sites that feature intercourse and fellatio. The sponsors, of course of this degradation, are the cash for admittance to the websites and satan.
The Catholic Church would be better served tending to their own sins, rather than caring about pornography.
Men have sinned in all ages. It may simply be that flashy unchastity is easier in our age.
I applied for the gig, but ended up paying the employers.
Janet Reno, the Lusty Lesbian, should have checked out the statistics that prove that homosexuals commit the larger percentage of serial killings.
I have no doubt, however, that feeding one’s mind continually a diet of pornography can lead to many forms of sin, debauchery and crime.
Or the beach. Or California. Or Europe.
Even as a young man I was never interested in that stuff. Today, as an old man it certainly does not interest me.
It’s something that serious Christians of all flavors have taken note of. It’s easier to blame Roman Catholics because they are such a big target, and because there is more in that system to go wrong when it does go wrong.
Anyhow, everybody knows that conquering the whole world and forcing porn to disappear is not a practical agenda short of the return of Christ with considerable supernatural assist. Watching where one’s own eyes go is, in the meantime, a good beginning.
Seems to me that is exactly what this article is doing. Did you read the first couple of sentences?
If 87% of people who consume porn became rapists, I would be concerned. The other way around is irrelevant. They could say that 87% of rapists eat Coco Puffs and it wouldn’t mean a thing.
Perhaps the Church is now resuming it’s paramount duty of saving souls after ridding its ranks of pedophiles. It appears now that it is Penn State and other ‘institutes of higher learning’ to cleanse their ranks.
Pedophiles and rapists have lurked and are lurking in many venues: schools, youth groups, charitable organizations, the UN, etc. etc.
The war against sexual-driven crime will not be won until the internet can be cleansed of evil that lurks awaiting the opportunity to convert young (and old) minds.
Perhaps acts of lust are created in the mind, ala Jimmy Carter, and not all are physically acted out.
Well, that’s the beauty of our legal system. You can not be tried and condemned for “bad thoughts”...
Perhaps, but all evidence would point to just the opposite.
They still continue to protect rapists among their hierarchy. Until that is eliminated they have nothing to tell any of us in the matter of right and wrong or what is moral, immoral or amoral.
You are absolutely right!
Vatican II eliminated the Roman Catholic Church and created a new religion. There are, however and thank God, are yet oases in this sea of sin that practice the Catholic Christian religion in the traditional Latin Rite that still hold dear the tenets of Christ’s Church on Earth.
Practically all of the sexual crime has been committed by homosexual ‘clergy’ who entered seminaries merely to disguise their true lustful desires: to get their clammy mitts on young boys!
And 100% drank water! and breathed oxygen!
It is why churches of all flavors are not to be trusted. Trust those you know, not institutions that get rich while telling us how to live while raping and stealing and not living up to the standards they expect from us and pretend to represent.
Ever heard of a “Hate Crime?”
Im not in favor of the government regulating porn or the internet. I dont think it’s wise to open that Pandora’s box. If the church wants to raise awareness and do things to warn people about porn, that’s their right. But if a legal adult decides to spend money looking at porn, it’s their right.
This may be true. However, the crime of the Church as an institution is protecting these rapists. They have known forever and have done nothing to stop it unless caught. The Church has treated its children like scum. That is the point.
Until that changes, I have nothing but negative feelings for the institution as a whole.
What they say does not concern me. What they do concerns me.
It’s been many decades since the Roman Catholic church has had the ability to wag the dog in any government, yet people still seem to react to their observations as though the Vatican were about to take their tater tots away.
I don’t agree theologically with those folks, but neither do I chalk them up as an incarnation of Satan.
I suppose some dots could be connected if, along with the statistic cited, there were other studies showing a rise in the statistics involving sex crimes and the rise in the amount/availability of porn.
A deeper spirituality than “religious people” exhibit is necessary to deal with pornography.
Religious zealots who preach against the ills of society need to deliver themselves from those ills first and that requires their humility instead of their pride.
What the Church should do is allow their priests to marry. This would go a long way to solving a lot of their problems. Basing your rules on something that goes against biology makes zero sense.
They did it to save money in claims against them. It is time to abandon the policy. Until that day they are going to attract a lot of priests who have mental issues of some sort. It is unnatural to deny the right to have sex and take a partner.
Serious crime in the USA has, to most accounts, actually fallen in the last couple of decades, but that has gone with an eyebrow raising increase in the jailed population of the USA which beats the rate of all other Westernized countries. So not much can be said from this about the influence of frank pornography, one way or the other.
In and of itself correlation does not prove causation, but that is a trite observation.
One can't help but notice that the easy availability of porn and the rise in frequency of sexual crimes are highly correlated.
But even a casual examination of the porn industry itself readily reveals the damage it causes to its participants.
Wouldn’t pornography be one of those sins? Did you even bother to read the article?
“After all, a mans wife cannot possibly maintain an image that competes with the women in the fantasy world of pornographic video and images.”
If you’re Tiger Woods or Eliot Spitzer, those fantasies are the real deal! However, it came with a hefty price (no pun intended) and their wives weren’t exactly dog biscuits either.
Now you’re getting silly, and I am about to laugh my protestant head off.
The bulk of the reported molestation problems within Catholic cloisters are from queers, homosexuals. They would not give a hoot about whether the church would want them to marry, and loosening the policy wouldn’t drive them out. Priesthood isn’t a lifetime vow and they can quit to marry, and also the Catholic church accepts already-married converts into the priesthood (as from the Episcopal church).
“The Catholic Church would be better served tending to their own sins, rather than caring about pornography.”
If the church is so anti-pornography then why do they even have a pornograph?
I think this topic would be of interest to you, however there is one poster trying hard to turn this into a Catholic bashing thread.
“What the Church should do is allow their priests to marry.”
None of the historic churches ever had priests who married. The Church literally cannot change that. One day the Church may ordain married men regularly, but it will NEVER have priests who marry. There’s a huge difference.
“This would go a long way to solving a lot of their problems.”
Sandusky was married. Did it solve his problem?
“Basing your rules on something that goes against biology makes zero sense.”
All of Christianity in a sense “goes against biology” for we depend on grace and not the flesh in general. Christ becoming man goes “goes against biology” as we know it. Many scientists will tell you monogamy “goes against biology”.
“They did it to save money in claims against them.”
“It is time to abandon the policy. Until that day they are going to attract a lot of priests who have mental issues of some sort. It is unnatural to deny the right to have sex and take a partner.”
They don’t deny it. People choose celibacy. It is imposed on exactly no one.
Read it. If you disagree with me, fine, but asking me whether I have read something is irrelevant to the point, at least in my opinion.
Pornography will be here forever. There is a demand for it, so it will be there. It’s not going away and cannot be legislated away or “spiritualized” away.
Perhaps if those crazed folks in the Middle East had better access to porn and sex, they would be far less angry.
Too much sake, sakic?
It’s your belief that homosexuals would become priests if priests could marry? And you’re laughing at my thought process?
Not Catholic bashing. Bashing of those that run it, not of those that follow its teachings. Big difference.
I’m in the camp that says the bible allows a looser policy — however, I’ve personally watched a person, the pastor of my own church who became celibate against his will when his wife died at an untimely age, and I saw (and continue to see) God use that to advance the quality of his very much evangelical ministry. St. Paul wasn’t woofing when he said that pastoral singlehood had its advantages. If he was woofing, then the Bible is telling lies in that passage.
You’d have to get scissors and cut stuff out of the bible before you could even get the idea that being married is better for all pastors.